The economic sanctions imposed on Russia by the United States and the EU are not effective, says the chairman of the parliamentary foreign affairs committee. Jussi Halla-aho (Finnish people).
Halla-aho told Yle Radio 1 on Wednesday morning that the sanctions will affect the country’s economy and the daily lives of Russian citizens, but will not affect the country’s leadership.
The United States, the EU, Britain, Australia, Canada and Japan announced on Tuesday that they intend to sanction Russia because the country has ordered troops into eastern Ukraine. In addition, Germany announced that it would suspend construction of the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline project from Russia to Europe.
"Russia is ready for sanctions and believes it can live with them," Halla-aho said and pointed out that the country is self-sufficient in many respects.
He added that the international sanctions imposed on Russia after the conquest of Crimea in 2014 have only increased the country’s self-sufficiency in, among other things, food production.
"In addition, the ability of Russians to tolerate discomfort is much greater than they are in the West," Halla-aho said.
Russia’s energy dependence
Halla-aho said Western Europe’s heavy dependence on Russia was a particular problem. According to the Foreign Minister, Russia estimates that the West will not be able or willing to maintain severe sanctions for a very long time, regardless of its activities in Ukraine.
Halla-aho said Europe should eliminate its dependence on Russian energy sources as Russia survives sanctions.
"If Europe wants to become independent of Russia and have the opportunity to react to Russia’s intolerable actions, it must first cut off its energy dependence, in other words, disconnect the hoses," he said.
Halla-aho added that it would require countries to completely change their thinking about Europe’s energy supply. That would include the German reverse "completely irresponsible" decisions on nuclear power, he said, referring to the phasing out of the country’s nuclear program.
Nuclear power decisions
Finland may also soon weigh up its own decisions regarding nuclear energy. On Tuesday, the Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin (SDP) said it was in favor of conducting a new risk analysis of Fennovoima ‘s nuclear power project as the situation between Russia and Ukraine escalated.
The project is partly owned by Russian companies, and experts have warned it could boost Russia’s nuclear weapons production.
Halla-aho said the Fennovoima project should be viewed in terms of national security.
Former ambassador: Russia is seeking to replace the Ukrainian government
According to the veteran diplomat and the former Finnish ambassador to Russia René NybergRussia’s goal is to overthrow Ukraine’s current government and president.
"Russia aims to overthrow the current government and president," he said, adding that he thinks the Kremlin wants to replace the president of Ukraine "someone who is willing to listen and submit to the will of Moscow."
However, the former ambassador said he did not know how Russia was going to overthrow the government. He commented on Yle’s current affairs program for Studio A on Tuesday night.
"There are military means, opportunities for pressure, factions and small and large means," he said, adding that media outlets have reported intelligence leaks that point to other means, including coups.
Nyberg also suspected that Russia’s motives were linked to NATO enlargement.
"If NATO is mentioned, we are excited. In fact, it is not a question of NATO. The fact is that Russia has lost its grip on Kiev and is not happy about it. They want to make sure the Kiev government listens to Russia. That’s the question now," Nyberg said.
Nyberg also said he believes ongoing tensions could lead to war.
Source: The Nordic Page